Sometimes companies emerge from bankruptcy as completely different businesses: take Kaiser Steel Resources. For years it was a major iron-ore-mining and steel-manufacturing operation, with annual revenues reaching nearly $1 billion. After being leveraged and partially liquidated in the 1980s, it went into bankruptcy reorganization. Now trading again on the public stock exchange, the Southern California company has a new focus: to turn one of its old mines into a landfill, possibly for the Los Angeles area.

-- Leslie Brokaw